Screw or Piston Compressor?

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Rotary Screw Compressor and piston (reciprocating) compressor are two of the most popular compressor technologies available today. But do you know which one is more suitable for your specific needs and applications? Understanding the difference between a piston air compressor and a rotary screw compressor and the capabilities of each technology is key. That’s why we cover it more fully in this article!

What factors should be considered?

Upfront operating and ownership costs, energy efficiency, machine uptime, and service intervals are important factors to consider when determining whether your business will benefit most from a piston or screw compressor. Noise level is also an additional factor to consider.

  • Initial Cost of Ownership vs. Operating costs. Budgeting for a compressor doesn’t just cover how much you pay for your compressor upfront; You also need to consider how much you will pay for your compressor in the long run (i.e. your overall operating costs). As much as 70-75% of compressor operating costs are spent on energy use, so keep that in mind when choosing compressor technology. Pistons have a lower initial cost of ownership than screw compressors, but screw compressors will provide less cost to operate over time.
  • Energy efficiency. If the piston and screw compressor operate for the same number of hours, the screw compressor will be much more efficient and have lower operating costs than the piston over the life of the compressor. When choosing technology, ask yourself: Is the initial or lifetime cost of ownership more important to you and your business?
  • Operational time. Because piston compressors are limited in their duty cycle and can only operate about 8 hours a day, they are ideal for applications with low duty cycle requirements and low daily working hours. Compare this with a screw compressor which can be operated 24 hours without stopping every day optimally.
  • Service Intervals. There are more moving parts in a piston compressor than in a screw compressor, which results in increased engine wear. The screw compressor does not get thirsty easily; Due to this, screw compressors do not require much maintenance. But keep in mind that it’s important to keep any type of compressor on a consistent maintenance schedule! This will help ensure the efficiency of your air compressor and optimal system performance.
  • Noise Level. Piston compressors produce a louder sound – especially compared to screw technology. If you are looking for a low noise machine or low noise level required for your site, then a screw compressor is the best choice.

For more information about Air Compressor Malaysia, please visit

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